Friday, August 6, 2010

OK City GM and Goalie Found at Last

The Edmonton Oilers have announced the hiring of Bill Scott for the dual role of AHL General Manager/pro scout ending a rather lengthy period of uncertainty in regards to the position. The official press release can be found at the Oilers site, here is the one from the American Hockey League where Scott has been employed for the past for seasons as Director of Hockey Operations.

The team also just announced the signing of 35-year-old veteran goalie Martin Gerber to a contract. He'll be the starter in Oklahoma City after his stint in the KHL where he posted a .914 SV% and a 2.19 GAA.

This name comes completely out of left field for me. Like new coach Todd Nelson, Bill Scott is not a name that I have seen, heard or read being talked about anywhere (feel free to provide a link if you did) and I am very much surprised by the hiring.

Don't jump to the conclusion that I am against it though. I know nothing about Scott aside from his résumé which reveals plenty of minor league experience working with both the AHL and the ECHL. He also interned for a season with the Nashville Predators and he has a NCAA past with the Michigan State Spartans. Other than that I know zilch about him.

I wonder how his work with the AHL and ECHL has prepared him to be the General Manager of a AHL team though. I'm not sure what his responsibilities would have been as the Director of Hockey Operations of the AHL. According to the Oklahoma City Barons' release, Scott was responsible for:
"...creation of the league schedule, assisting in determining player fines and suspensions, supervised regular season and playoff games and interpreted by-laws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement for member teams."
What does he know about player recruitment? I assume Oilers Assistant GM Rick Olczyk will continue to be the contract negotiator but as far as talent assessment and identifying free agents to target... if that is actually one of the duties of the AHL GM as one would expect, is he qualified for that?

One source I contacted was wondering the same thing about Scott and said: "Is he qualified? He's an administrator with zero practical hockey background so... you tell me."

I'll ask you the fan the same question I did when Nelson was hired over Rob Daum. Is the hiring of Bill Scott and upgrade over Kevin Prendergast?

Here is the release in regards to Martin Gerber and the signing of the Swiss netminder to his new 2-way contract.

Gerber was originally drafted in the 8th round of the 2001 NHL Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. The Swiss netminder played for the Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs and has also appeared internationally for Switzerland.


Racki said...

First off, let me start by saying.. big thumbs up to the Oilers for addressing the goaltending situation in OKC. That, as you know, KILLED us last year (when Doobie was called up). So this should help a lot, so long as we don't pick our farm team apart via callups again. I suspect that once Khabi is back, some more help will be headed to OKC as well.

On the note of Bill Scott.. you guys know your stuff.. what do you know about this guy... anything? Having a common first name as his surname makes googling a little ineffective. lol

Guy Flaming said...

Like I said here, I know nothing about him that isn't told in the press releases.

I talked to a second contact today who was "Stunned" by the hiring. Said that Bill Scott "was excellent for Dave Andrews (AHL prez)" but that he "has no experience" and is a "paperwork guy".

It's a really odd fit to me.

Today on Jason Gregor's show Scott said he contacted Tambellini - does that indicate (1) that the Oilers had gotten to the end of their own list of candidates (2) that Scott sold the Oilers on qualification that we don't know about?

Racki said...

Oh sorry, I missed part of your original post apparently.. I must not have clicked on the link or something and read the extra part below the Gerber signing (i.e. thought I did, but must not have clicked to read more).

Disappointing to hear people say this is an odd hiring, but I guess you've got to start somewhere... errr yah.

Anonymous said...

This is a puzzling move by Tambo, it's a off the wall announcement. He(Scott)seems to be more along the lines for an Assistant GM position. He could be Ricky Olczyk's twin, as the Barons' pencil pusher. What is going to be interesting, is who he scouts to help the Barons' out.

Mark-Ryan said...

... I don't believe there's such a thing as an "Assistant AHL GM", partially because there's no such thing as an AHL GM. He's actually the Assistant GM to the Edmonton Oilers, whose sole responsibilities are to manage the AHL team.

I mean, I'm sure there's an Assistant to the Assistant GM, kind of a Dwight Schrute type deal, but that guy fetches coffee.

No need for a number cruncher when the guy who deals with all the contracts is the same guy who does it for the Oilers.

In any case, Director of Hockey Operations of the AHL sounds like a cushy job. Wouldn't leave it for any old thing. He's a pro scout, too, mind you.

As to the question as to whether he's a better option than Kevin Prendergast... I know you like the guy Guy, but damned if he didn't suck at managing an AHL team. No track record has to be better than the worst track record.

oilerdiehard said...

I am kind of surprised that you are surprised by the hire.

I mean NHL teams, not just the Oilers, do this sort of thing all the time.

But just focusing on the Oilers here. What made the following guys qualified to be scouts before they were hired: Dave Semenko, Kent Nilsson, Rob Daum, Frank Musil etc... How much experience and qualifications as a coach did Kelly Buchberger, Mark Lamb, Kevin Lowe and Steve Smith have before being hired at a high level to coach?

How much pro hockey management level experience did Kevin Prendergast have before being named the Assistant GM of the Oilers? What in KP's past said he should be the architect of our farm team?

How was Rick Olczyk qualified this Summer (from what I can tell it was him) to be the architect of the Barons?

On a side example outside the organization. Most people point to the Manitoba Moose GM Craig Heisinger as being successful. Anyone know what he did before being named GM? He was the equipment manager of the Winnipeg Jets. Wow.

Those are only a few examples and in comparison to them Bill Scott probably seems pretty qualified for the position. I mean how much team building has he got to watch up close in both the ECHL and AHL over the last 7 seasons?

Heck, the AHL offices are in Springfield. Scott probably watched that team being built and run up close and personal over the years.

One thing is for certain Scott knows the AHL pretty thoroughly. I think in the Gregor or Oilers Lunch interview. He mentioned that as part of his job he had to watch most AHL games. So he is very familiar with all the teams and talent base. Part of his job was to "supervise regular season and playoff games". So he knows a thing or two about the league.

Also I think he said he was with the Nashville Preds for a season and watched them build their team throughout the year and straight through the draft that year.

Also the wording in part of your article seems very vague. "One source" said this...

Was it at least a currently employed hockey guy with an NHL or AHL team? With it being that vague it could be your girlfriend or mailman or anybody. I at least hope that source was not Kevin Prendergast because that would ridiculous to ask someone like that, especially anonymously. How do you feel about this guy getting your job? That would be pretty objective. Not sure why I got the vibe that it was KP answering that, but for some reason I did.

Also to be clear he is the GM of OKC and not even as high up as the Oilers Assistant GM. So probably a large portion of his job will be more pencil pushing.

Guy Flaming said...


1) you're asking why career players and career coaches are qualified to be scouts? I think that is the easiest career change for those types of people to make.

2) former players becoming coaches - I was not in favor of Buchberger's placement as head coach in Springfield and can't say that I'm big on the idea of Steve Smith as a NHL assistant already.

3) Prendergast being promoted to from within the Oilers organization is exactly what most businesses do. He worked his way up from being a scout to head scout to VP of Hockey Ops and then to Assistant GM. That took about 15 years.

4) Rick Olczyk is the contract guy for the team. My sense is that pro scouts like Morey Gare are finding the players and Olczyk is signing them with Tambellini supervising and giving the final OK on it all. On a side note - I'm told Olczyk is like Mensa smart, I don't know that for sure but that's what one person told me.

5) I am familiar with the Manitoba story but not that he went directly from equipment guy to AHL GM in one move. I assumed that was a transition over a period of time and if that's the case... that's the right way for it to unfold.

6) Bill Scott should be pretty familiar with the business side of the job, no question. And if Morey Gare IS the guy finding the players (along with the rest of the pro scouts of which Scott is now one) then it's not much of an issue.

7) He interned for a year with Nashville but what he did there... who knows? I've seen interns at the Oilers games who on games days are the guys handing the media the period summaries. It's a foot in the door, not sure how much more that that it was.

8) finally, as if I would ever reveal a source. Burn a source once and he/she's no longer a source. Rest assured the people I talk to on this (or any) subject are pertinent to the story and are not my girlfriend (or my wife) or mailman.

9) I do agree 100% with your final paragraph.

oilerdiehard said...

Thanks for the reply Guy. All fair points. I might not agree with all of them. But fair enough.

Scott did not pay his dues in that exact type of position at a lower level. But most of the examples I give they did not either.

Maybe a better example (or not?). I do not know all of your background. But what little I know I would say it is likely in journalism. You clearly have a great wealth of knowledge about prospects. Does that qualify you to be an on air radio show host? Not by itself, but you can talk on the radio fine and your superb knowledge base lends itself to a prospect radio show.

But did you pay your dues along the way interning at a radio station, maybe reading the weather and sports for 90 seconds every hour, working the control board, doing some work for free on smaller radio over the years or something similar etc... etc... I do not know you did not do all of that, but I am assuming not (and if I am wrong I look really silly with this comparison ;)). Yet it was still an excellent call IMO for the Team 1260 to hire you to co-host the show. They made the right call and you help carry the show very well.

I definitely did not intend for you to burn a source. But in the past you have often used quotes and just listed it as one NHL scout says this... or one anonymous GM said that. But just saying "One source I contacted...".

How do we even have a remote clue if the guy or girl is a part of the AHL or NHL. Whether they are currently employed in that type position etc... It would not give away your source and it would add some weight to the validity of the comment. As it sits now it reads like it could be anyone so it is harder to take seriously IMO. As I said it could even be Kevin Prendergast for example which for me would render the comment as completely useless. As KP is hardly in a position to give an honest, unbiased opinion on the situation.

I apologize if I did not get my points across very clearly in my earlier post.